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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Higher Education Center Gets a New Name

Higher Education

For years, it was the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center. Today, the site that is dedicated to the advancement of education in the region is known as the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland. The Patuxent Partnership, a frequent partner of the center, is helping to publicize the new name.

The University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland, or USMSM, has formally joined the Universities at Shady Grove and USM at Hagerstown as the third regional higher education center operated by the state’s public university system, the University System of Maryland.

The center is the oldest in the state, and is located in St. Mary’s County. It is currently home to educational programs sponsored by nine universities, including five USM institutions. Unlike other regional higher education centers in the state, USMSM also includes a major research component because of a partnership with the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site.

“The University System of Maryland is excited to formalize our longstanding partnership with the higher education center located in Southern Maryland and welcome them and their students into our family,” Chancellor Robert Caret said in a press release. “Our focus will be on expanding access to higher education for students in Southern Maryland, developing the region’s workforce, and jointly making the center and nearby Unmanned Aircraft System Test Site a major hub for research and development. In achieving these goals, the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland will have a major impact on the region’s economy for years to come.”

Joe Anderson is the long-serving chairman of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center Board of Governors. He said he is happy that the merger between the University System of Maryland and the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center is finally a reality.

“The University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland will open the doors to great opportunities for the people of Southern Maryland by providing readily accessible, easily affordable, and workforce relevant degrees, training and certification programs that will enable a bright future for our region,” Anderson said in the release.

USMSM currently educates a total of 282 students in 42 degree and certificate programs offered by five USM institutions: Bowie State University, Salisbury University, Towson University, University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Maryland University College. These include programs in high-demand areas like criminal justice, business administration, education, nursing, engineering, and social work.

Also, four educational partners – Florida Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, and Webster University – sponsor 63 degree and certificate programs at the site.

The plan is to expand both the educational and research capacity of the facility. To do this, plans are underway to construct a new, 84,000-square-foot academic and research facility to include state-of-the-art classrooms and cutting-edge research labs.

As the system’s third regional center, USMSM will expand on previous efforts to ensure that students in areas of the state that are not near a public university can access programs offered by the 12 institutions in Maryland’s state higher education system.

“Our two existing regional higher education centers are already bringing educational resources – programs, courses and faculty – from our campuses across the state to thousands of students in Montgomery County and Hagerstown,” Chancellor Caret said in the release. “The two centers enable students in those areas of the state to study for a degree near their homes and workplaces, significantly increasing the chances that they’ll both enroll and ultimately graduate. We hope and expect that our newest regional center in Southern Maryland will emulate the success the first two have enjoyed in serving Maryland students, while also forging its own path as a center for research, development, innovation and economic development.”

To learn more about The Patuxent Partnership and its programs, visit its Leader member page.

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